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Continued: Atlanta mayor defends using emergency lanes in gridlock to reach Weather Channel for interview

  • Article by: JEFF MARTIN , Associated Press
  • Last update: February 1, 2014 - 5:42 PM

The interview request itself was routine, and the network often speaks with city officials when severe weather strikes, said Shirley Powell, a spokeswoman for The Weather Channel.

"We do it all the time. Our news desk would have made the request," Powell said in a statement Saturday.

Some motorists have reacted angrily at the mayor's action, calling it self-serving and unnecessary.

"He's worried about his national exposure when the whole city is in gridlock?" Scott Albertson told the Atlanta newspaper. "He's worried about his chances to run for Senate or president some day."

Albertson's trek from Atlanta's Perimeter to his home in Woodstock took more than seven hours Tuesday. Other drivers were stuck on I-75 as long as 20 hours.

Rafael Garcia was among drivers trying to stay warm in the massive traffic jams on I-75 when the mayor passed by. By that time, Garcia had been on the road four hours and would have eight to go before arriving home to Woodstock.

"I think it's adding insult to a bad situation," Garcia told the Atlanta paper. "The more I thought about this, the more upset I get in every respect."

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